Hollywood harassment nothing new, says Barrie Chase 3

Dance · Featured · Film
The brouhaha over movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades of inappropriate sexual aggression with actresses brought back sixty-year-old memories from Barrie Chase, one of the most superb dancers to work in film and television. Her story concerns Arthur Freed, the renowned MGM producer with an A-list roster of movie-musical titles to his name, a revered high-quality ...

How George Martin found first dance job — in the Yellow Pages

Dance
Debra Levine lectures on Jack Cole’s “The Gladiators” dancers: Rod Alexander, Jack Cole, George Martin A wonderful sliver of dance history sourced at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts concerns Jack Cole dancer George Martin. Said Martin, in an interview, apropos the start of his dance career: “My mother took me to see ...

Miss Ruth in the Valley 3

Dance
Ruth St. Denis, featured in a newspaper story on elderly fitness, strikes a Denishawn pose for a photographer. Verso text: “Pictured are Frankie Van, owner of Frankie Van’s Health Club, 3717 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, along with famous modern dancer Ruth St. Denis. Ms. Denis once lived in the Valley and operated a school ...

Gwen calls out Bob’s choreography in Gap commercial 2

Dance
In a 1999 interview, Gwen Verdon (1925 – 2000) expressed mild exasperation at the use of choreography by Bob Fosse (1927 – 1987) in a commercial by The Gap. “It’s very interesting that right now there is “Go Go Khaki,” a commercial for The Gap. They are doing the Frug. It’s amazing. They are not ...

Go Grover! Grover Dale does the boogaloo in ‘The Landlord’

Dance · Film
I so enjoyed seeing “The Landlord” (1970), Hal Ashby’s maiden voyage as a film director, screened at TCM Fest 2017. One of those rambling and intriguing seventies movies that is so direct, so real, and wearing its heart on its sleeve. As the credits rolled, an added bonus — the name of arts·meme friend, Grover ...

Gwen falls for Fred, but he does not fall back

Dance
From an interview with James Heneghan, son of the great Gwen Verdon … remembers James: “We were walking down the street in Beverly Hills, and I was walking next to my Mom. I was grown up.” “All of a sudden she fell off the curb and landed on the front of a car! “I said, ...

Dance double to Merle Oberon

Dance · Film
A revealing story captured in a comprehensive oral history conducted for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, in 2003, with George and Ethel Martin, the two great Jack Cole dancers. Ethel kicks it off, with a small assist from her husband. Ethel: Jack [Cole] told me, ‘I know Kenny [Williams]’. He was ...

Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...

The two Georges: Balanchine & Chakiris

Dance · Film
Okay, it’s a stretch! But bend-and-stretch is what dance is all about, isn’t it? Still, we were delighted to trip upon an amazing comparison, in a book review/essay by one of our premier dance writers, Joan Acocella. Publishing in The New Yorker magazine (“Balanchine Teaching” January 11, 2017), the critic/dance historian, in describing George Balanchine’s ...

Dance & film co-mingle for a happy 2017

Dance · Film
We’re ringing in a Happy New Year with a movie friend, Rudolf Nureyev, who stars in the Ken Russell biopic, “Valentino” (1977). Nureyev looks smart, doesn’t he, in his tuxedo pictured (above) alongside his festooned co-star, actress Carol Kane. But I also enjoy seeing Rudi sans tux — casbah-style — putting the iron grip on ...